“And they fell in love and lived happily ever after.” Go ahead, roll your eyes. But deep down — guys and girls alike — isn’t this the moment we’re all waiting for, the moment we’re all hoping for? Don’t we want to believe that true love is possible? Don’t we long for deep, meaningful relationships?
Today’s dating scene is complex and confusing. More often than not, I stumble upon articles that tell me the “Top 20 Things to Never Do While Dating, or the “10 Types of People to Avoid.” I think articles like these further skew our impression that dating is something to be feared or avoided. What if, instead of focusing on what not to do, we focused on what we should be doing when we date?
Here is some great advice from five, faithful, Catholic, young adults who are trying to navigate the dating world just like you!
1. Dating 101
- Date someone whose expectations are general, not specific. That is, if they are only interested in you because you have a particular interest in common, rather than a particular philosophy in common, it will be tough down the line!
- Date someone who values their family more than they value themselves, and the person they’re with more than the person they’re not with.
- Date someone who makes you love yourself more, or makes you want to be a person you would love.
- Date someone who smiles more than they frown.
- Date someone who cherishes moments, especially the present.
- Date someone who listens with no ulterior motive.
-Alex W., 24
2. Rooted in Christ
- DO respect with the utmost reverence the sanctity of the other person’s body. “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” – C. S. Lewis.
- DO plan dates frequently… and with much detail (key).
- DO center your relationship around Christ through prayer in order to understand and act on the proper end goal of your relationship: to strive for the salvation of the other.
-John L., 22
3. Authenticity and Prayer
Pray together- this sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget sometimes. God should be the center of your relationship, so make that happen. Going to Mass together is really good, but praying before meals together and just randomly praying together for each other and for your relationship is good too.
And don’t forget to be yourself. You don’t do yourself (or the other person) any favors by trying to be someone else. Being your authentic self will help you find the person you’re actually looking for, instead of the idealized person you think you should be dating.
-Katarina G., 23
4. Dear Prudence
This is pretty general, but I think the word prudence should make an appearance. It is useful to think of the importance of cultivating virtue in everyday life, but especially within the context of Catholic dating. Prudence is SO key, especially because it allows for personal discernment.
-Andrea W., 23
Prudence is a virtue that is acquired through a habit of right judgment and requires us to make good decisions that are aligned with God’s will. This means we should make decisions based off of truth, rather than feelings/emotions. Prudence demands that our eyes be opened to the truth of a situation, rather than seeing things the way we want to see them, which can be tempting in a dating relationship.
5. Patience is a Virtue
Do take your time. If you are meant to date this person, your feelings for them will last. Taking time ensures that you are able to hear God’s still small voice through your emotions.
Do listen to your intuition. Anxiety is never from God. If you feel anxious with the person you are thinking of dating, they aren’t for you, no matter how great they are. Listen for peace in your gut, that means you’re on the right track. This peace lasts both when you are with them and when you are away.
-Camilla M., 22
This blog originally appeared on LifeTeen.com, visit their site for more awesome blog content!